There have been a few teams reportedly interested in pursuing the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith, but any offer to pry him away from the Knicks would have to come at a fairly high price.
New York can only offer Smith a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $25 million under their current cap situation, and with players like J.J. Redick and Kevin Martin already receiving more than that with their new teams, Smith figures to be in line for a bigger payday if he chooses to go out and get it.
The team that may step up first to offer that is the Milwaukee Bucks.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
The Bucks, who have gutted their team and have plenty of cap space, are shaping up as the leading suitor for J.R. Smith.
But if Smith leaves the Knicks to get more bucks in Milwaukee, he will find himself in a rebuilding program. That’s the decision the Freehold, N.J., native, has to make.
Take less to stay with the hometown Knicks, who can offer a four-year, roughly $25 million contract — which comes to $6.25 million a season after yearly raises — or follow the “green’’ jerseys of Milwaukee or another under-the-cap club willing to make a four-year commitment. The market value is being set for him to get an offer of at least $7 million per year.
Smith has enjoyed playing in New York, perhaps even a bit too much at times. Milwaukee isn’t close in terms of the activities it can provide outside of basketball, so it’s likely that the Bucks would have to overpay significantly to get Smith to consider leaving a good team in a great city for whatever Milwaukee’s franchise has to offer.
A deal starting at what Monta Ellis turned down to stay with the Bucks — $36 million over three years — just might do the trick.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.
Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.
Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.
His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.
He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?
The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.
I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.